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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Edmonton Journal

Date: October, 2002

Transcribed by
Tamara (tinuviel_golem@yahoo.com)


  page: E1
 title: Inside the Tool box 
author: Sandra Sperounes

It's not always easy to pry open a Tool box, especially the 
one toted by Maynard James Keenan. 

To say that the frontman for heavy rockers Tool is a reluctant 
star is an understatement. It's like saying George Bush is 
only somewhat interested in bombing the hell out of Iraq. 
Keenan doesn't like the adulation, he's not always happy on 
the road and he'd pretty much rather have his foot 
amputated than talk to a journalist. He rarely does 
interviews, and when he does, he's often humourless, 
antagonistic and unwilling to talk about seemingly harmless 
subjects. Don't, for example, ask him about his recent 
collaboration with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. "Is this a 
Tool interview?" demands Keenan, in a very quiet voice, from 
the very noisy backstage confines of Seattle's Key 
Arena. "Let's stick to Tool stuff so we don't insult the rest of 
the band." 

So don't even think about asking about the band A Perfect 
Circle, his side project with guitar tech Billy Howerdel, either. 
And you might as well forget about asking about Tool's 
disturbing horror-like videos or Lateralus, the L.A. band's 
latest experiment in metal, spirituality and unconventional 
time signatures. Oh, Keenan will answer the questions, even 
the Circle ones, he just doesn't have much to say. He's 
vague about his songwriting inspirations. He's not sure 
whether Lateralus is lyrically brighter than 1996's Aenima and 
1993's Underto, which featured songs about sodomy (Prison 
Sex) and crucifixion (Eulogy). 

"I think they're all positive. I think they're all parts of the 
process," responds a monotone voice. "They're all steps." 

So what step are you at now? 

"Three-and-a-half albums." 

But artistically, where are you? Spiritually, where are you? 

"On the road -- which would be not grounded in emotion." 

Do you like being on the road? 

"Sometimes." 

Do you like being on the road right now? 

"No." 

Why? 

"I'm just tired." 

And so is most of this interview. In fact, the only time Keenan 
perks up is when asked why he doesn't like doing interviews. 

"The music should speak for itself," he says. "Interviews 
have more to do with personalities that only have a part of 
what goes on. It's not about me or Danny or Adam or Justin. 
It's about this thing that happens when these four particular 
individuals get together. That's expressed in sound which is a 
far greater communication device than words and a 
pretentious rock star babbling on about life." 

By extension, Keenan isn't fond of talking about Tool's 
songs -- or any other subject matter -- with fans. It's not that 
he despises his followers, he just doesn't think rock stars 
should be worshipped. 

"To get yourself all bent out of shape because some rock 
star showed up is silly," he says. "If people want autographs 
or handshakes, they should go into the emergency room and 
shake the hand of some doctor who saves three dozens of 
lives a day. We've never run into a burning building to save 
anybody. All we did is figure out we're irresponsible and 
couldn't get a real job." 

So why bother with music in the first place? Why not work in a 
convenience store or a video shop? 

"I do this because I'm incapable of doing anything else. I 
might do this very well, but I definitely can't hold a job at 
Target or The Gap," he says. 

"I certainly won't wear a tie and work as a stockbroker. I'd get 
fired the first day." 

Gee ... you think so? 

Posted to t.d.n: 10/15/02 16:22:05